News & Notes for Thursday

May 21, 2009

CANTERBURY GOLF CLUB’S COURSE RECORD
IS A LONG STORY WHICH INVOLVES A PROUD AMATEUR

Canterbury Golf Club’s competitive course record is owned by a former amateur turned Tour professional and broadcaster – Bobby Clampett. He posted a 5-under-par 66 (played at par-71) in the 1979 U.S. Amateur.

The lowest score in relation to par by a professional is 5-under, and shared by eight individuals:

  • Sam Snead in the 1940 U.S. Open (par-72)
  • Five players in the 1973 PGA Championship (par-71) – Al Geiberger, Don Iverson, Denny Lyons, Buddy Allin, Lee Trevino
  • Chick Harbert and Chandler Harper in the 1946 U.S. Open (par-72)

However, the lowest score ever posted at Canterbury is owned by a lifetime amateur and club member, Brian Sparrow (age 54).

While playing in his regular Sunday foursome in 2002 from the back tees with par set at 72, Sparrow finished with a 8-under-par 64.

“It does feel pretty good to know I have the lowest score ever shot at Canterbury,” said Sparrow, a native of Providence, R.I., and winner of the 2007 Northeastern Ohio Amateur and the 1990 Michigan Medal Play Championship. “It was the lowest round I’ve ever had. I can tell you that my partners weren’t talking to me much that day. We have our own very competitive group, and it wasn’t what I would call a casual round.”

Three for the Ages:

When the threesome of Dave Stockton, Bob Charles and John Jacobs teed off on the first hole today at 7:50 a.m., they brought with them:

  • 204 combined years of age (Charles, 73 years; Stockton, 67; Jacobs, 64)
  • 136 years of combined professional experience (Charles, 49 years; Stockton, 45; Jacobs, 42)
  • Three major championships during their PGA Tour days (Stockton, 1970 and 1976 PGA Championship; Charles, 1963 British Open)
  • One Senior PGA Championship (Jacobs, 2003)

Together Again

Charles and Stockton are very familiar with one another while competing for senior major championships at Canterbury. In 1996, they played all four rounds together, with Stockton ultimately winning the U.S. Senior Open. They are playing the first two rounds together here this week.

In addition to Charles and Stockton, the last time O’Meara and Cook played Canterbury, they were paired together in the final match of the 1979 U.S. Amateur, with O’Meara eventually getting the better of Cook. Thirty years later, they too are paired together for the first two rounds.


The Canterbury Tale: Senior PGA Prologue

May 18, 2009

For those familiar with “The Canterbury Tales,” written by Geoffrey Chaucer, it is hard to miss the fact that this epic poem shares its name with the course that will host the 70th Senior PGA Championship this week. “The Canterbury Tales” is a collection of stories by a group of individuals making a pilgrimage to a city named Canterbury. Chaucer included a prologue to introduce the premise, each pilgrim and set up his or her tale.

We thought it would be fun to make our own “Senior PGA” version of this prologue. May my English teachers forgive me …

It’s happening in Cleveland, three days from now
A Championship, prestigious, historic and how.
The destination, a course rich in tradition
Towards Canterbury they come with PGA permission.
This week the Seniors will visit this city,
Professionals, some one hundred and fifty.
In fellowship, they are golfers all
Legends, proficient at striking a ball.
While all are eligible for the AARP
They are energetic and fun, you’ll definitely see.
By comparison, I seem frail and scuzzy
Even standing next to the one named Fuzzy
From across the country they’re making the trip
By car, by plane, but probably not ship.
One destination, one place to play
To Canterbury, as you heard me say.

Among them 23 major champions there are
41 titles combined, and that’s just thus far.
13 Masters, 12 British and 7 Open claimers
9 PGA Championships and 8 Hall of Famers.

Their Defending Champion comes raring to start
He possesses a weapon with whom few would part.
Tommy Lamb is his name, a friend and caddy
Read greens at this course when he was a laddie.
Twice has the Champion defeated his friends,
But with none does he plan to make amends.

Ready and waiting will be the Great White Shark
He has more fans than most amusement parks.
As one of the biggest names ever in the sport,
A repeat champion he is planning to thwart.
At his side will be a former tennis star
Reminding him no winner only shoots par.

For some this will be their first time back,
In ’79, a lifetime of memories did they lack.
In that year, two amateurs were at their best
Just starting to distinguish themselves from the rest.
O’Meara and Cook were in the finals that year
The former victorious and garnered the cheer.
With them were Hal Sutton and Bob Tway
PGA Champions they would be one day.

Seven coming back were here in ‘73
When Nicklaus said, “This Majors record belongs to me.”
In ‘96, of these seven, Irwin and Stockton returned
Unfortunately, for the title one would still yearn.
While Irwin made a push in the eleventh hour
It’s unlike Stockton to cower.
The U.S. Senior Open trophy he got to kiss
While Irwin settled with the near miss.
However, Irwin was not to be undone
Since then, four Senior PGAs he has won.

All these golf greats, from Bob Charles to Bob Tway
Are still some of the best despite all the grey.
It is for one thing they crave, one primal need,
To have their names etched beside that of Sam Snead’s.
The winner will be listed with Nicklaus and Palmer,
Trevino, Floyd, Watson, Player and Zoeller.
But to the winner, it’s important to warn
Surprisingly heavy is the trophy named Bourne.
Make no mistake, it’s senior golf’s most historic prize
But to hoist it with one hand would be most unwise.

To Canterbury they flock ready for war,
Sure to leave fans wanting for more.

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